Getting to Know: Salvador

Continuing on with our ‘Getting to Know‘ blog series where we search for must-see places across South America, this week we’re travelling to Salvador, Brazil.

Overshadowed by the huge tourist giants that are Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, this wonderful destination often flies under the radar.

A view over this amazing city (Image credit – Felipe Dias)

About Salvador

This beautiful colonial city is located on Brazil’s north-eastern coast. It’s the capital city of the state of Bahia, and is known for its fantastic architecture, tropical coastline and traditional Afro-Brazilian culture.

Founded by the Portuguese in 1549, it was actually the first capital city of Brazil, a title it held for more than 200 years until 1763. It’s also home to 2.9 million people.

The city has both a Lower Town (Cidade Baixa) and Upper Town (Cidade Alta), which are split by a steep escarpment, almost separating the city into two.

Interestingly, the Elevador Lacerda, the first urban elevator in Brazil, is used to cross into the two different towns, leaving you with quite the breathtaking view from its top platform.

The impressive elevator (Image credit – Ruan Tcharle)

Things to do

Attend a Samba Party

Every Tuesday night at 8pm (yes, you read that right, every single Tuesday), the start of the city’s famous samba party rolls around like clockwork. Tens of thousands of people gather in the streets to enjoy a carefree night filled with authentic Afro-Brazilian and Samba beats.

It’s a care-free and friendly event, and often lasts until the early hours of the next morning.

Mercado Modelo

When it comes to visiting a new location, we love to take some souvenirs home with us. There’s no better place to find some in Salvador than Mercado Modelo. Residing next to the stunning harbour, there’s hundreds of stalls selling lots of locally made products, with an expansive selection of homemade foods and alcohol, shoes, jewellery, art and woodwork. If you’ve built up an appetite after all this shopping, there’s some great restaurants here for you to visit too.

Porto da Barra Beach

Sometimes, a holiday simply isn’t complete without a trip to the beach, and this one is certainly fantastic, Fazendeiros.

Located in the Barra neighbourhood of Salvador, this popular beach is sandwiched between a white colonial fort and a hilltop, whitewashed church.

Since the beach is in a bay, the water is very calm, making it ideal for a quick dip to cool down.

The waters are crystal clear (Image credit – Marcus Alves)

If you’re planning to spend the day at the beach, it’s worth sticking around for the sunset. Due to it being west-facing, there can be some spectacular sunsets that disappear behind the seemingly endless horizon.


This traditional Brazilian bean stew originated in the state of Bahia, where Salvador is located. It’s a very homely dish, usually consisting of black beans, salted pork and smoked sausage.


Although this is the most common and modern way of creating feijoada, it actually used to contain more ingredients. Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and banana were added at the end of cooking, allowing the steam from the beans and meat to cook the vegetables. This was done particularly in the north-east, especially in Bahia and Sergipe, and so some consider it to be the true way to create feijoada.

If you’d like to give feijoada a try, it’s available on our salad bar. You might just love it as much as we do, Fazendeiros.

What do you think about Salvador? We’d love to hear your thoughts of this beautiful location over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or in the comments below.